Teacher training up 50 per cent in five years

Record numbers of students are training as teachers in England, up 50 per cent on five years ago, according to the Teacher Training Agency.

Ralph Tabberer, the agency's chief executive, said: "For an increasing number of people, teaching now represents a smart career choice, both as a supported career and one in which you 'use your head'."

Registrations for undergraduate and postgraduate teacher training courses were 31,918 at the beginning of last month and it is estimated that another 1,979 trainees will take up places by July. The agency is also close to having 9 per cent of trainees from ethnic minority groups two years earlier than its target. But some targets have been missed, with too few trainees in some secondary subjects. The number of people taking maths is falling, leading to fewer specialists to work in schools. The Government had made available 2,315 maths places but expects only 1,960 recruits.

David Miliband, the School Standards Minister, said: "The figures show that the measures we are taking to make teaching a more attractive career option are working."

The figures also show there are too many primary train- ees for some subjects.